Developed by Ghost Town Games and Team 17 Digital Limited Published by Team 17 Digital Limited Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Xbox One, Switch, and PC)
When Overcooked arrived on August 2016, the game quickly gained traction with glowing reviews. For good reason, since Overcooked was a unique, charming, and incredibly fun cooking simulation that did not take itself too seriously. The game combined fast-paced cooking action while simultaneously creating a world filled with rich environments. Every level was a new kitchen with a new way to experience the game. Combine all of this with playing with friends and you have one of the best cooperative games in recent memory. With Overcooked 2, the stove dial has been cranked up to 11. In every possible way, Overcooked 2 surpasses its predecessor. This includes new mechanics, many unlockable chefs, new worlds, and new recipes. Overcooked 2 is beyond fun.
The player (and optional friends) take the role of chefs who must prepare and serve up different dishes in each level to continue. The premise is really that simple. It’s in the execution of this simple premise that brings this game to life. The story revolves around the player needing to go around the world to find tasty recipes to feed a horde of zombie bread slices. It is ludicrous but a funny way to entice the player. However, the key to doing this is to create meals by following recipes. The players must take certain steps to prepare these dishes. Like chopping vegetables or cooking meat before creating a hamburger. Combine these essential chef duties with navigating stages the often act like obstacle courses.
Every level contains new elements that makes the players think about how to go about creating orders. These include moving platforms, elevators, shifting layouts, and many more variations that make every stage feel like a genuine challenge. The new throwing mechanic adds a new layer to the gameplay. New stage archetypes exist now that encourage the players to throw food, creating a new way to interact with other chefs. Throw in a timer with the abundance of a full four-player kitchen and the madness is just delightful.
Overcooked 2 at its core is a puzzle game where the player must figure out the optimal way to beat a stage. What I love about this is that Overcooked 2 does not feel like a puzzle game. There is only the joy of putting recipes together just long enough to pass the level. Finding a working solution with friends is a grand feeling. Couple this concept with multiple unlockables throughout the game and Overcooked 2 creates an addicting experience that makes the game hard to put down. The graphics, art style, and music are all spot on.
Like with Overcooked, the art style remains largely the same. Big-headed chefs stand out in environments that are often richly detailed. The sequel has more vibrant colors this time around with solid graphics that help compliment the art direction. One of my favorite things in this game are the small details that went into creating the look and sounds of food cooking. The addition of many new recipes makes learning and seeing new food types very exciting. For me personally, the music really stuck out throughout this game. Every stage has different music with the music shifting the tone to match the environment. For example, a swamp stage will have a funky, spooky feel to it because the stage is a bit ominous while a sushi bar will have more traditional Japanese style music. Matching each track with the environment is a key element to setting the tone for Overcooked 2. The variety of environments is refreshing. Every stage feels different and alive since none of them play out the same way.
All of these great additions to Overcooked 2 are amazing in their own right. There is one aspect where I felt that Ghost Town Games nailed it, where they knew what people wanted: online play. Overcooked 2 can now be played online with friends or random people. This is a dream come true as I often found myself saying this feature should have been in the original Overcooked. Now that online play is in the sequel, the fun craziness can reach any and all friends. There are even different ways to play online such as a cooperative mode and a versus mode. Both modes are fun for anyone looking to have a cook off. Or players can work together and find new friends within the heat of the kitchen. It truly is a wonderful feature in the game. With all the different ways to play cooperatively, the option of playing a single-player game may seem pointless. However, I found the challenge to be just as satisfying. Instead of playing as only one chef, one player will control two chefs with the ability to switch chefs on the fly. Playing the game by oneself is easy and still fun.
Overcooked 2 is a perfect sequel that doesn’t change the formula too much but instead adds a ton of new features. With the first game being fun, that’s all I could have asked for. The massive amount of new recipes, the throwing mechanic, the sounds and music, the detail in graphics, and the overall delight it is to play Overcooked 2 all combine together to create a truly unique game. Be sure to gather friends and get ready to have a great time that only Overcooked 2 can deliver. The wait for Overcooked 2 might have been long but it was worth the wait. Ghost Town Games and Team 17 have truly outdid themselves and created a wonderful cooperative game.